Lochside Garage

Deal on offer would ensure no hard border

IT’S BEEN a rollercoaster week in the world of Brexit, particularly here in Fermanagh where the everyday consequences of any deal, or no deal, will be felt the strongest.  
The proposed withdrawal agreement Prime Minister Theresa May revealed to the world last week has generally been welcomed locally. Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP have voiced their support for the deal, which comes with a much anticipated backstop, as have the business and farming community. 
Put simply, this backstop will see the North effectively remain in both the Customs Union and the Single Market, while the rest of the UK will remain in a form of ‘customs territory.’ The arrangement will mean no restrictions on local goods entering the EU market, therefore no checks on the border. 
Not everyone in the county is happy, though. While the UK customs territory proposal would also mean limited checks on goods moving from here to Britain, there would still be some, and this has been one of the DUP’s ‘red lines’ throughout the negotiation process. 
Arlene Foster’s party is so incensed by the proposed deal it has even threatened to withdraw it’s confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservative government. 
With Labour also vowing to vote against the deal, at the time of going to press it seemed unlikely it would be able to pass the vote in parliament that is necessary for it to be adopted. If the deal isn’t passed, then the drama will truly begin. 
As Theresa May herself has said, without the deal it’s either no deal, or no Brexit.  With no deal almost guaranteeing a hard border, it’s not a stretch to guess what the people of Fermanagh would prefer. 

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